Pea Pasta with White White Reduction Sauce

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of white wine;
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of chicken broth;
  • 1 small tablespoon of flour
  • 1 lemon
  • chopped basil;
  • diced garlic;
  • diced shallots;
  • 3 tablespoons of butter;
  • 2 cups penne pasta;
  • 1/4 cup of peas; any kind works here.
  • kosher salt & pepper.

Start off by boiling enough water for 2 cups of penne pasta.

Once the water starts to boil, add in the pasta and begin to heat up some olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet. Throw in a 3-finger pinch of kosher salt into the boiling water. Cook the pasta until al-denté or about 8-10 minutes.

Gently sauté the shallots until the get fragrant, and then add in the garlic with about 2 tablespoons of butter.

Let it sizzle up for about 30 seconds before adding the white wine in. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and simmer the mixture until it reduces by about half.

Slowly add in the chicken stock and the flour, mix well, and continue to simmer until it thickens into a good sauce. You should be able to scrap a spoon on the bottom and it takes about 1 second to come together.

Add in a few squeezes of lemon, chopped basil. Add in about 1/4 of drained peas.

Drain pasta, keep about 1/4 cup of the water. Pour pasta and remaining water into the skillet/saucepan to mix in with the sauce.

Serve with garlic bread, a charcuterie board, or by itself!

Homemade Garlic Bread

Start of with a french baguette. It needs to be a good one! When buying it at the store, does it have that nice “crunch” when you squeeze it? That’ll be the difference to get a soft dough in the center with crispy crust.

If you’re making it all at once, just slice it down the center length-wise. Otherwise, be sure to save some for sandwiches later on.

If you bought garlic butter spread from Trader Joe’s, or another grocery store, just spread it on and you’re good to go! If not, follow these steps:

  • Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter and spread over the sliced baguette;
  • sprinkle some salt, some pepper, and some oregano on.
  • Dice up some garlic, or spoon over some crushed garlic from the jar. Get a nice even spread.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and there you go! Soft and crispy garlic bread.

Easy Grilled “Baked” Potato

Super easy side or main dish. Doing it this way will give you that crispy skin that tastes delicious!

Lay a couple sheets of aluminum foil out and put some kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter on it.

Roll the potato around in it.

Foil it up and grill for about 45-60 minutes. Let is rest for about 10-15 minutes before opening it up and cutting into it. Load it up with your favorite toppings!

Charcuterie Board

No real recipe here, just wanted to show a really quick way to do a charcuterie board– which is really the best appetizer anyways.

This is a good opportunity to get creative with it and have fun with the presentation!

You can add as many components as you’d like, or have room for. I usually go for some sweet, some savory, some salty, and some spice/heat for a well-rounded flavor profile. Here’s the list I typically choose from in my head when making a board:

  • Cheeses: you can’t really go wrong– just use you’re favorite! My choices are: stinky cheese, sharp cheddar, swiss, jalapeño jack, Muenster, brie, goat cheese.
    • You can always keep it simple and go with swiss and cheddar.
  • Crackers
  • I love a good combo of prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni. Any typical charcuterie board meat will do here. That’s what I have pictured here.
  • Dijon mustard is a must to add that element of heat. Using a jalapeño jelly is a great option too.
  • Olives: O.L.I.V.E.S. greatest opportunity for variety here. I love min stuffed with feta cheese or garlic. They can be bitter, sweet, salty, all the above. Make good choices here.
  • Fruits: grapes, apples, pears, and various dried fruits (apricot, raisins, cranberries) are good options. Stay away from oranges, lemons, or limes for these boards.

Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon

With buffalo cauliflower and sautéd zucchini.

This is another take on a great Filet Mignon. For a refresher on how to cook the filet, you can view post below that also has a good red wine reduction sauce with it. It’s pretty much the same except for the seasoning!

Filet Mignon with Red Wine Reduction Sauce

This is one of my favorites! Classic filet Mignon for an easy weeknight dinner that you can whip up with any side. With a great tasting cut like filet mignon don’t feel like you have to season it or marinade it for a long time for it to be good. Let the meat shine! Prep…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • For the Filets:
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • Kosher salt
    • Black pepper
    • Green peppercorns, whole
    • Dijon mustard
    • Green onions, chopped
    • Parsley, chopped
  • For the zucchini:
    • 2 zucchini’s chopped how you like them
    • Crushed garlic
    • Olive oil
    • Fresh chopped oregano
  • For the buffalo cauliflower:
    • 1 head of cauliflower
    • 3/4 cup of milk and same for flour
    • Paprika
    • Chili powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Franks redhot original sauce

Here’s how to do it:

First, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. We’ll be cooking the buffalo cauliflower at that temperature, and for the sake of time and ease, we’ll do the filet at that temperature too. The filet will just go in for a little less time. Put the cast-iron pan in the oven to pre-heat it.

Prepare all the ingredients while the oven is pre-heating:

  • Get out all the components: paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, garlic, flour, milk, butter, green peppercorns, mustard, and Frank’s Hot Sauce.
  • Chop the parsley, green onion, and oregano into bits but keep it all separate.
  • Cut up 4 tablespoons of butter;
  • Chop the cauliflower into florets about 1.5″ wide;
  • Make the cauliflower batter:
    • 3/4 cup of flour
    • 3/4 cup of milk
    • Add equal parts of paprika, chili powder, kosher salt, black pepper– about a teaspoon each.
    • Mix well and then add cauliflower
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out battered cauliflower onto the sheet. Set aside until oven is ready.
  • Using a small bowl, or mortar and pestle, crush the green peppercorns into flakes and powder;
  • Chop zucchini into bits and put into separate mixing bowl; mix with olive oil, salt, and black pepper;

Coat the steaks in a light coat of mustard for the seasonings to stick onto. The mustard taste will burn away during the cooking process and adds good flavor. I learned not to use olive oil or other oils because they can clog the meat fibers and prevents the seasonings from penetrating the meat.

Rub kosher salt and black pepper on the top and bottom sides. Pour the green peppercorns into a baking dish and roll the edges of the steaks in the them to get a nice looking crust.

Once the oven is ready, put the cauliflower mix in the oven (450) for 20 minutes. Skip below if you’re not cooking cauliflower.

Parchment paper not used here– BIG mistake! make sure to line the dish or pan you’re using.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Frank’s Hot Sauce over the cauliflower and roast for another 20 mins. At this time, take your cast iron pan out of the oven and over medium-high heat.

Take a non-stick frying pan and sauté the zucchini over medium heat until done. They should be done right around the same time as the steak if you start them at the same time.

Sear the filets over generous amount of butter:

  • Sear for 4 minutes, flip.
  • Sear for 3 minutes.
  • Put into oven for 5-8 minutes– less time for rarer steaks.
  • Take out and put more butter in skillet, pour in chopped green onions. Turn heat down to low.
  • Baste steaks with butter and green onion mixture for about 2 minutes.

Turn off heat and and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing or serving to let juices re-distribute.

Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I made these chicken enchiladas that turned out fantastic! It was my first time making enchiladas, but it was super easy and pretty fun to do. This is a great dish to make plenty of extras for left overs, and giving to friends/family.

Here’s what you’ll need to make as much as 16 enchiladas but you can adjust as needed by dividing by 2 for 8 enchiladas…and would you ever want to make less? You’ll need:

  • For slow-cooking the chicken:
    • A whole chicken; you’ll have extras for sandwiches or soups.
    • slow cooker;
    • 1/2 an onion chopped;
    • 2 carrots chopped;
    • 2-3 celery sticks chopped;
    • chicken broth (optional);
    • Spices/ dry rub;
    • crushed or minced garlic
  • For the enchiladas:
    • shredded chicken
    • 8 to 16 corn tortillas.
    • Red enchilada sauce (24-28 oz) (quality goes a long way here);
    • Shredded Mexican blend cheese;
    • Queso fresco (optional);
    • 1/2 onion diced;
    • 1 can of Ortega (or hatch) chilies. Canned chilies are great;
    • 1 can of black olives;
    • Chopped cilantro.

First, prepare to cook the whole chicken in a slow cooker on high for about 4.5 hours. Thoroughly rub your choosing of spices and garlic all over the chicken. In this recipe, I used equal parts of: brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, kosher salt, white pepper, and crushed garlic. After removing the giblets from the inside of the chicken stuff the cavity with a mixture of chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Throw some more of the mixture on the bottom of the slow cooker so the chicken sits on top. Cook on high for 4.5 hours. Optional: add a 1/2 cup of chicken broth to get some great left over broth for soup later.

Tie the drums together like this.

After it’s all finished, carefully take out the chicken and place it on a cutting board to carve/shred the chicken. I chose to mix up all the dark and white meat together because it all tastes so good. Once shredded, allow it to cool down.

Heat up a medium saucepan with about 24-28 oz. of enchilada red sauce. Add about 1.5 to 2 cups of chicken broth. Salt and Pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the meantime, heat a bit of canola oil (you can feel free to sub olive oil here, just turn down the heat a smidge) a skillet to lightly fry the corn tortillas so they’re soft and flexible, but not crispy. Corn tortillas will begin to get little air bubbles in them when hot, take them off just as they start to appear. Do the whole batch and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Prepare a filling station: get all the ingredients you want in the enchilada in one place so you can quickly fill and roll the tortillas.

  1. Pour about 1/2 to 1 cup of the sauce into a baking dish.
  2. Place the tortilla in your left hand. Spoon some green chilies on, followed by a little bit of black olives and diced onions. The amounts are up to you, but don’t skimp on the chilies.
  3. Put chicken on top of the toppings, mix in a little shredded cheese.
  4. Roll them all up in the tortilla and place seam-down in the baking dish.
  5. Continue to place the rolled tortillas side by side in the baking dish until its full.
  6. Top with shredded cheese, crumbled queso fresco (optional), sour cream, chopped cilantro, and any remaining toppings left over from the filling station.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes to get a little crisp on the edges.

Serving suggestions: refried beans with queso fresco topping and Mexican rice. 3